The Grey God (Chapter Five, page 1 of 18)

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Darian took them to an area where he'd felt a consistent, high level of Other activity. The area was free of Others now, but so many had come and gone from here, he knew it was something special. He opened his eyes to find them off a dirt road in the high desert somewhere. The air was clear and dry, the sand dotted with small shrubs.

He saw nothing that might indicate a cave similar to where the Watchers entered the mortal world, not even boulders. Jenn pulled her hand free from him, and he glanced at her. She'd been acting standoffish since he sought her out at Damian's direction. The bruises on her body confirmed what she'd never say: she was barely making it through this assignment.

When Jonny demanded someone help him uncover the Others, Darian had volunteered. The White God hadn't said a word, until requesting a hostage of his own in exchange for sending his brother to live with the Black God.

Jenn took a few steps away, looking around. She'd lost weight in the two weeks she'd been assigned to Jonny, and his gaze swept over her lean body. He'd always thought her beautiful-and beyond his reach. He'd accepted that sparring was the only real, physical interaction he'd ever have with her. When they'd met, she'd been the on-and-off girlfriend of Dusty, before the assassin met his mate. Darian had been lost in the mental cave that was his mind.

Standing in the desert sun, he couldn't help thinking she wasn't beyond his reach anymore. She'd done what Claire never would-risked getting killed by Others to save him. His resolve to keep away from her began to make less and less sense.

"There's nothing here. Unless this portal looks like a shrub," she said. "Though I do like this weather better than the snow. I hate the cold. I can't keep warm up there."

"I have a cabin near Jonny's. We can stay there, so we can sleep away from the vamps and take a decent shower," he offered then added quickly, "Separately. We can shower separately. If you want."

She gave him that look again. Rather than frustrate him, he found it entertaining.

"I'm not Jonny," he said with a straight face. "I'm not trying to get you into my bed. I have too much respect for you not to be direct about the fact I'm interested in you."

Jenn frowned.

He cursed himself silently. "I mean, if I was interested, I'd respect you and be direct about how-"

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